Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis Part One

NOTE:  Because of all the reporting surrounding the Warriors Finals victory, we are publishing in two parts today to keep things manageable.  Stay tuned for Part II later today.



–  A Guide to the Elite and Unlikely Cast of Characters Who Defined the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors  (from Zach Lowe,

Read it here:



–  Why the Warriors won  (from David Nurse,

Read it here:




–  Warriors win NBA title by playing their way  (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:




–  THE DUBS GET THE ULTIMATE W, AS DRAYMOND QUIETLY DELIVERS  (from Matt Zemek,  Crossover Chronicles):

Read it here:



–  Iguodala NBA’s no-stats Finals MVP  (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):

Read it here:



–  Steve Kerr caps remarkable rookie season with NBA championship  (from Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports):

Read it here:–steve-kerr-caps-remarkable-rookie-season-with-nba-championship-060415742.html



Risk-Taking Steve Kerr  (from Robert Silverman,

” The Golden State Warriors have been transformed into a selfless unit capable of reminding us why we fell in love with sports in the first place.”

Read it here:



–  Warriors strike a giant blow for a new-age NBA era  (from Doug Smith,

Read it here:




Read it here:



 Champion Warriors find ways to surprise again  (from J.A. Adande,  ESPN):

Read it here:



–  Steve Kerr’s real genius was letting the Warriors have fun  (from Ricky O’Donnell,  sbnation):

Read it here:



–  Warriors come from different places but end up as champions  (from Jarrett Bell, USA Today):

Read it here:



–  Are the Warriors just getting started? (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss,  ESPN):

Read it here:



– Smaller, Faster, Better  (from Jonathan Tjarks,  RealGM):

Read it here:



Should other teams try to mimic the Warriors? (from Tom Ziller,  sbnation):

Read it here:






–  Pondering Small Ball for the Jazz  (from

Read and view it here:




What Dwane Casey’s statement that  “The day of the centers has gone by” means for Jonas Valanciunas  (from William Lou,

Read and view it here:




–  Bruno Caboclo, prospects big winners as Raptors get go-ahead to buy D League team  (from Doug Smith,  the

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Brook Lopez:


Spencer Hawes:


Aaron Gordon:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Grizzlies grind down MVP Stephen Curry, Warriors’ offense in Game 3 win   (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:




– Last-minute adjustment delivers Paul Pierce’s game-winner  ( from J Michael,  Washington Post):

“I got the ball in a great spot. Coach drew up the play. It’s a play we just put in yesterday. Got the switch. Got the smaller guy on me. Took my time. Wanted to make sure I got the shot off with no time on the clock. I’ve been in that situation many times. … Got to my spot and was able to knock it down.”

Read it here:




– Rockets see big holes, vow to improve their defense  (from Broderick Turner,  LATimes):

“We’re gambling at half court, so that allows them to get easy points once again,” Rockets guard James Harden said after Houston practiced at the Lakers’ training facility in El Segundo.

“I think if we make them play against our set defense for 90 percent of the game, the game will be a lot different. But when we reach and gamble, then guys go around us. They get lobs, they get threes and their crowd gets into the game.”

–  Rockets’ Howard, Smith have roots in close-knit AAU team  (from Jenny Dial Creech, Houston Chronicle):
–  Cavaliers, Bulls battle to manage injury concerns  (from Steve Aschburner,
–  Wesley Matthews talks guarding ‘Splash Bros  (from David MacKay,
” Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews joined Rick Fox, Matt Winer, and Stu Jackson on NBA GameTime to discuss his methods for guarding 2015 MVP Stephen Curry and 2015 MIP candidate Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.”




–  A look at the Nuggets’ top four candidates to become the new coach  (from Christopher Dempsey,  Denver Post):

” This will be a specific search. The Nuggets are looking for a certain style of play, and each of these candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job fills that bill. But they are going deeper than that, so we will too. What separates these men? What have they done, and what makes them attractive to the organization? The Nuggets, who started the coaching search process last week, are in the midst of doing their due diligence, figuring out who is the best fit for the vision they have for the team going forward. Here is a breakdown of the four main candidates:”

Read it here:



 Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Otto Porter:


Will Bynum:


Drew Gooden


Tony Allen:


Andre Iguodala:


Spencer Hawes:


Damian Lillard:


Meyers Leonard:


Giannis Antetokuonmpo:


Omer Asik:


Bruno Caboclo:


Isaiah Thomas:


Jordan McRae:


DeWayne Dedmon:


Elfrid Payton:


Marvin Williams:




TOTN (from John Hollinger, Memphis Grizzlies exec): “I do feel a little bit like we’re painting graffiti on the Mona Lisa. But it’s really good graffiti, not run of the mill shit.”



Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


–  Griz Morning After: Gasol feeling blue over execution, not injury  (from Ronald Tillery,

” Marc Gasol didn’t want to talk about his left ankle sprain.

“Not relevant,” the Grizzlies’ center said at least five times Monday night following a loss  to the Golden State Warriors.

“I don’t think that matters. What matters is how you play as a team. We didn’t play well. We didn’t execute. We didn’t do a good job.”

Gasol’s strongest indictment of the closest blowout loss you’ll ever see was that the Griz didn’t compete or make any necessary adjustments through three quarters.”

Read it here:



How the Memphis Grizzlies Can Get Right in the 2015 NBA Playoffs  (from Tim Firme, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:




–  A Season in Memphis  (from Joe Mullinax,

” On the eve of the regular season finale, as eyes turn from the end of one season of life and love in Memphis to the start of the postseason, let’s look back on some of the peaks and valleys that have led to this moment in time.”

Read and view it here:




–  Having exceeded expectations with playoff berth, Celtics aim for more  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):

” Boston’s 2014-15 campaign has featured 11 trades and 41 total roster players. If Chris Babb gets into one of the Celtics’ final two regular-season games (at home Tuesday against Toronto and Wednesday at Milwaukee), then Boston will have set a franchise record by utilizing 23 different bodies on game days this season. That turnstile roster included shipping out Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green early in the season. Just when everyone thought the Celtics would plunge to the high lottery, this young team found something and instead embarked on a spirited two-month playoff push.

Since Feb. 3, Boston has won 22 games, tied with the Houston Rockets and Cavaliers for third-most wins in the league in that span (only the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have more). The Celtics were 14 games under .500 at 16-30 after a loss to Miami on Feb. 1, but own a .647 winning percentage since that point.

What happened? Their 38-year-old coach, Brad Stevens, established himself as a master in-game tactician and a late-game wizard of the dry-erase board, the trade deadline delivered an influx of much-needed talent, including reserve point guard Isaiah Thomas, and Boston spent the past 34 games playing collectively at a level far beyond what you would expect possible from these players individually.”

Read it here:




–  He’ll never win, but Brad Stevens should be the NBA Coach of the Year (from Nate Scott,  USA Today):

Read it here:




–  George Karl: “Excuses are for losers and we want to be a winner”  (from James Ham,

Read it here:

And from Bill Herenda,

And more from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee, here:




The bizarre Phoenix Suns  (from William Bohl,  Hardwood Paroxysm):

” The 2014-15 Suns were just plain bizarre. How else do you explain signing Isaiah Thomas, a point guard, to a 4 year, $28 million deal when you already employ two very good point guards (Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe)? How about your gritty, blue-collar wing stopper (P.J. Tucker) getting a “super-extreme DUI” the week after signing a 3-year, $16.5 million extension? Or Eric Bledsoe’s contract situation getting dragged out unnecessarily, thereby fostering ill will for both sides? Having a passive-aggressive shouting match (Marcus Morris and coach Jeff Hornacek) on the sidelines during a nationally televised game? Forcing the linchpin of last season’s surprising success (Dragic) further off the ball, alienating him and leading to his trade request? Failing to inbound the ball properly? Ripping your home fans (Markeiff Morris) the same night the team scored 24 points in an entire half? Your coach calling the team “soft” to the media? The symbol of last season’s rehabilitated image and reinvigorated play (Gerald Green) turning heel and publicly declaring he’s unhappy? Playing Jerel McNeal in a game when he isn’t even technically on the roster?

Read it here:


Another view of the Suns’ Season (form Paul Coro,

Read it here:




–  One more game, then Pistons’ SVG swaps roles and focuses on draft, free agency  (From Keith Langlois,

” Stan Van Gundy is going to keep the coaching hat affixed firmly to his head until the last possession of Wednesday’s season finale at New York. But when he wakes up Thursday morning – maybe a little later than his usual bird-warbling hour, but probably not much – he’ll waste not a minute swapping it out for his president of basketball operations Stetson.”

Read it here:




–  Three rotation players suffer injuries as Trail Blazers lose to Oklahoma City  (from Joe Freeman,

” As the Trail Blazers approach the regular season finale, they are on the verge of calamity, their roster ravaged by injuries, their April momentum halted by a series of body blows.

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Blazers 101-90 Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. But the more important tally was not on the scoreboard, but rather on the injury list, where three more players were added to an ever-expanding queue.

As the Blazers were succumbing to the motivated Thunder (44-27), who are fighting for their playoff lives, three more key rotation players went down with a variety of ailments.Nicolas Batum suffered a right knee injury late in the first quarter, CJ McCollum sprained his left ankle with seconds left in the first half and Chris Kaman tweaked his back in the third quarter, a trio of wounds that left the shorthanded Blazers battered and bruised at the worst possible time of the season.”

Read it here:




–  How Timofey Mozgov became the man the Cavaliers needed  (from Yaron Weitzman, sbnation):

Read it here:




–  DeMar DeRozan leads the Raptors into battle  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

”  DeMar DeRozan had something to say. The Toronto Raptors lost in Chicago, and he wasn’t pleased. Dropping from third to fourth in the Eastern Conference wasn’t catastrophic, but the sixth-year swingman couldn’t pretend everything was OK.

The Raptors had to be better, DeRozan told his teammates in the locker room, but it was more than that. He wanted them to understand just how far they had come. Their 24-7 start had given them a nice cushion, but DeRozan knew better than anybody that the opportunity in front of them wasn’t guaranteed. This franchise has won one playoff series in 20 years, and he was just over a year removed from answering irritating questions about tanking.

“Now that we have this great situation on our hands, we can’t let it go to spoil, we can’t let it go to waste, we can’t take anything for granted,” Toronto forward Patrick Patterson said, recalling DeRozan’s message. “We’ve all been in situations where we weren’t happy, and now that we’re finally happy, we have to play like it. We have to come together, be together, protect one another, look out for one another and just have fun. And that’s what he preaches every single day.”

Read it here:




–  NBA Awards Ballot, Part 1: In Praise of the Individual   (from Zach Lowe,

” In a normal season, there are usually one or two awards on the NBA’s ballot that are easy — a runaway rookie of the year (Blake Griffin), a borderline unanimous MVP, a bench guy who lapped the sixth-man field.

Not this season. In my brief time filling out ballots real and fake,  this has been the toughest one, top to bottom, by a mile. There isn’t a single clear-cut winner, and a bunch of races — including the most congested MVP race in at least a decade — boast multiple candidates who could land almost anywhere on the ballot.

This was brutal. It was the best possible form of torture.”

Read and view it here:



–  Surprise success stories what made 2014-15’s rookies solid  (from Scott Howard-Cooper,

Read it here:




The Rise and Potential Future Of the D-League Fort Wayne Mad Ants  (from Keith Schlosser,

Read the Q & A with President & owner Jeff Potter here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Cory Joseph/Patty Mills:


Chandler Parsons:


Al Jefferson:


Quincy Miller:


Kyle O’Quinn:


DeMar DeRozan:


C.J. McCollum:


Vince Carter:


Kawhi Leonard:


Rajon Rondo:


Derrick Rose:


Bryce Cotton:


Joe Ingles:


Amir Johnson:


Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith:


Tyler Johnson:


Blake Griffin:


Spencer Hawes:

Today’s Top NBA Stories

Klay Thompson playing at the star-like level many saw for him (from Marcus Thompson II,

” Three games into the season, no one is thinking about how the Warriors missed out on Kevin Love. The sentiment that the Warriors overpaid at four years, about $70 million, has already been silenced.

That’s how good Klay Thompson is, and how good he can be.
But this isn’t a revelation as much as it is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Many other NBA executives
and experts saw this coming. That includes legend Jerry West, the Warriors consultant who
advocated the drafting of Thompson. That includes coach Steve Kerr, the former championship
player and general manager, who lobbied with West to keep Thompson instead of trading him for
Warriors management knew all along what the rest of the league did: Thompson was bound to be
an NBA star. He has all the tools. He’s got the supporting cast around him. And, now, he’s getting
mature enough to put it all together.

Read it here:


Klay Thompson’s Early Season Offensive Improvement (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):

Read and view it here:


How Mavericks’ diverse attack is helping Chandler Parsons heat up as a scorer (from Eddie Sefko,

“I’m just in a good rhythm,” he said. “I’m trying not to force anything. And I’m getting more comfortable playing with them. With our personnel, it’s great. You’ve got Tyson [Chandler], and he’s always a target at the rim.

“There are always three or four shooters on the floor capable of knocking down 3s. It’s a fun way to play. Not many teams are going to be able to control what we do on the offensive end.”

What fans have seen in the quick glimpse that is a marathon NBA season is that Parsons appears to be getting a lot of good opportunities offensively. Dirk Nowitzki still commands attention. Jameer Nelson stations himself on the perimeter and can’t be left. Monta Ellis is always a threat anywhere he’s at on the court. And Chandler is lethal with his rolls to the basket for lob passes.

It adds up to a recipe for Parsons to get equal opportunities at the 3-point arc and on slashes to the basket. He’s already had a handful of one-hand throwdown dunks, and his long ball has perked up during the winning streak.

“They can do so much offensively, there’s way less help because guys don’t want to leave certain guys, and it allows me to create more for myself and get to the basket,” Parsons said.”

Read it here:

LeBron opts for new leadership style (from Brian Windhorst, ESPN):

” This is a conscious decision on how he plans to operate in a passive-aggressive mission to yank some teammates toward his way of thinking. Let some of them fail at their way so they will be open to new ideas, is what it looks and sounds like.

“Everyone wants to win, I would hope,” James said. “Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it.”

Read it here:


Chicago Bulls’ Soft November Schedule Helps Set Up Derrick Rose Maintenance Plan (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher report):

” “When you’re going to the hole, you’ve really got to have balance,” Rose said after shootaround on Tuesday. “And one way to have balance is through your ankles. So when your ankles are sore, you’re not going to have balance and you end up hurting something else. I’m just trying to be smart.”

“I’m just looking for that burst and that speed,” Rose said. “If I can get to a spot, I’ll play. But if not, if I’m not 100 percent, if I can’t play the way I normally play, there’s no point in me being out there right now.”

If everything goes according to plan, Rose will be playing like his old self come playoff time. But getting there involves a lot of planning and patience, and there’s no better time to put that to the test than now.”

Read it here:

Wizards establish blueprint to stop Knicks (from Ian Begley, ESPNNewYork):

” It’s early, but there might already be a blueprint out there for how to slow down the New York Knicks’ new offense: pressure the ball.

The Washington Wizards employed the strategy to perfection on Tuesday night. Their ball pressure helped hold the Knicks to 37 percent shooting in a 98-83 win.

“Tonight, their pressure caused us some problems,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said after his team fell to 2-2. “I think it got frustrating for all of our guys out there, not to be able to execute the things that we’re capable of doing.”

The Knicks’ offense is predicated on well-timed cuts, ball movement and proper spacing. Washington used pressure defense on the perimeter and strong denials in the passing lanes to disrupt things on Tuesday.

The Wizards’ game plan was eerily similar to the strategy the Chicago Bulls used in their blowout of the Knicks on opening night.”

Read it here:

And from Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sports

The Wolves’ Dilemma with the D-League (from ZacharyBD, Canishoopus):

” It appears Flip Saunders won’t be quick to send players to the D-League this season. Here’s why.”

Read it here:

The Houston Rockets are Shooting Threes at an Absurd Pace (from Jacob Rosen,

” The Rockets, those poor sad Rockets that missed out on a superstar and lost three key rotation players, are currently the NBA’s best team. It’s very, very early, but they’re not just beating opponents, they’re destroying them. And they’re doing it in uber-Morey fashion.

Thus far, they’re taking an earth-shattering number of three pointers. In five games, 10 percent more of their field goal attempts are occurring beyond the arc. And they already led the league in this category last season!”

Read it here:

–  Top 5 HORNS Plays Of The Week Episode 1 (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick broke down the best examples of NBA teams running HORNS. Check out how the Sixers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers all throw wrinkles at the defense to make it difficult to stop.”

Watch it here:

Garrett Temple explains how he’s worked to improve his jump shot (from Mike Prada,

” The Wizards’ shooting guard is off to a hot start from downtown after struggling earlier in his career. He talks to Bullets Forever about how he’s worked to improve his jumper.”

Read the Q & A here:

Can Paul Pierce handle the truth? (from Michael Wallace, ESPN):

” The Wizards have been down this road before. Future Hall of Famers have passed through Washington late in their careers, but none have been able to translate it to postseason success. It didn’t work when Bernard King arrived in his early 30s during the late 1980s, or when Mitch Richmond showed up in his mid-30s during the late 1990s. Not even a twice-retired Michael Jordan could make much of an impact on the standings in the early 2000s.

How can Pierce?

“The difference is, we already have our anchors in Wall and Beal,” said Phil Chenier, a shooting guard on Washington’s 1978 NBA championship team and a local television analyst for the past three decades. “When Bernard came, he was our new identity. When Mitch came, we were still expecting him to be a 20-point scorer every night. And even Michael, even though he retired and came back again and again, he was still M.J., and that expectation to be M.J. was there.”

“Paul still has a lot to offer. But he’s not coming to save a team. He’s coming to supplement a team that was very close a year ago to the conference finals.”

Read it here:


Can Pierce Turn Wizards Into a Contender? (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insdiers):

” Washington is a young squad that is extremely hungry after experiencing a little bit of success in last year’s postseason. Last year’s group managed to win 44 games, which was good for fifth place in the East. Washington defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, before being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games.

Pierce has experienced just about everything a player can in the NBA, so he’s an amazing resource for these young Wizards. Pierce said that he’ll do his best to offer his help throughout the course of the season.

“I just try to keep everyone focused,” Pierce said. “I want them to understand what it’s going to take when you’re coming off of a loss and in a back-to-back situation. That’s what I’m going to give them all year long. If we’re going to try to take that next step from what the Wizards did a year ago, then it’s got to be mental. It’s got to be every night, consistency in practices and in games.”

Read it here:


Doc’s cure for shooting woes: Don’t let up (from Arash Markazi, ESPNLosAngeles):

” “It’s a make-or-miss league,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It always will be. We could go on a streak in the middle of the season and make half of them and look brilliant. I am never going to tell J.J. Redick to pass up a wide-open jump shot. That would be silly. And he missed a bunch of wide-open jump shots [Sunday]. Spencer Hawes missed a bunch of wide-open shots. Is it too many 3s? Probably. A lot of them are wide open. Should you tell them not to shoot them? I don’t think so.”

“I’m thinking if we played at a little faster pace, we’d get more to the basket,” Rivers said. “That would take some of those [3-pointers] away, but when you watch the film, which I have — I have them all taken and looked at every single one — they’re wide open. And they’re wide open for our guys that have to make them. Honestly, [Chris Douglas-Roberts], on a couple of his, probably should drive. Matt [Barnes], on a couple of his, probably could drive, but J.J.? Shoot the ball. All the other guys who have them? Shoot the ball.”

Read it here:

Early impressions: Is there hope for the Sacramento Kings? (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

” When is it OK to have hope? How soon is too soon to enjoy success? And if you have to start somewhere, why is starting anywhere seemingly less proof of basketball life than failing out of the gate. Welcome to life in the NBA when it comes to your 3-1 Sacramento Kings.

The Kings opened with a dismal loss to the Warriors and it seemed par for the course. A bad team whose offseason moves were panned (particularly the loss of Isaiah Thomas and the replacement thereof with Darren Collison) gets slammed against the locker by the division favorites, setting off yet another disappointing, if expectedly so, season.

And then a funny thing thing happened.

The Kings have rattled off three straight, yes, three whole games, but had this been an East Coast jaunt vs. the Sixers, Magic, and some banged up squad, it would be one thing. Instead, they knocked off the Blazers, then the Clippers, in Los Angeles. On Monday, they were stacked against the schedule: the dreaded back-to-back in the altitude of Denver vs. the Nuggets. That’s a schedule loss. I know it. You know it. The teams themselves know it. You lose those games.”

Read it here:


Anthony Davis taking flight, lifting Pelicans in third season  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” “I just go out there and play. What people expect of me? That’s on them,” Davis said, recently. “I don’t pay attention to all the stuff that they’re saying because that kind of messes with your head and you start getting complacent. That’s for the fans to read it and listen to it. My objective is to help this team win.””

Read it here:


Deron Williams Played A Perfect Game, And Few Even Noticed (from Miles Wray, BBall Breakdown):

” When I watch Williams, it almost seems impossible that he would ever be the type of player to cause locker room strife. There is no direct correlation between on-court unselfishness and off-court behaviour, of course, yet Deron is playing with an unselfishness that makes any connection hard to fathom. Williams makes the game look easy; he plays with total court awareness, and he is always looking to get the ball in the hands of the open man. Sometimes he is that open man, and he does not hesitate to take those in-flow shots. But most of the time, when he is not that open man, Williams makes Brooklyn’s offense hum by smartly looking for the open man without forcing situations or demanding that he get his prerequisite number of shots.

On Monday night, the Nets dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-85. The popular takeaway from the game is no doubt to be that a seriously injured Thunder squad simply did not have the bodies to keep up with a presumed playoff team like the Nets. This is a part of the story, to be sure. They could not keep up. But in the Nets, I also saw a veteran team working as a single and cohesive unit to find the open man, their individual personal statistics be damned.”

Read and view it here:


A look at what the other top NBA rosters would look like with the Thunder’s current injury situation (from Anthony Slater,

Read it here:


And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

Ariza, D driving Houston’s hot start (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here:


More player updates:

Brook Lopez:

Jason Thompson:   and

Nikola Mirotic:

Marcus Morris:

Joe Johnson:

Jeff Green:

Tim Hardaway, Jr

K.J. McDaniels:

Nerlens Noel:  and

Mike Scott:

Ekpe Udoh:

Today’s Top NBA Preseason Stories

– Kerr gets the job and coast he wanted (from Scott Howard-Cooper,

Read the interview here:

(BI note: great interview by Scott of Coach Kerr.  Other interviewers can learn a lot about the craft from it.)

– What Will Make 2014-15 a Successful Season for Harrison Barnes? (from Jim Cavan, Bleacher Report):

” Few NBA players have gone from star in the making to potential roster filler faster than the Golden State WarriorsHarrison Barnes.

Following a promising rookie campaign, the former North Carolina standout flat-lined in his sophomore year—the product, in no small part, of Andre Iguodala’s stranglehold on the team’s starting small-forward position.

With just two years remaining on his contract (the second being a team option), Barnes, at just 22 years old, is already at a career crossroads: Rebound and regain his phenomenal promise, or risk sliding forever to the NBA fringes.

So what does Barnes have to do to make this a successful season?”

Read it here:

– Tony Parker interviewed by Yahoo! France:

“Tony Parker sat down with Yahoo! France to talk about the Spurs’ chance of repeating, France’s World Cup performance, next year’s Eurobasket tournament and if he thinks he’s reached his peak yet. ”

Read it here:

– Thomas Robinson’s defense still a work in progress (from David MacKay,

” Considering the Trail Blazers other options at backup power forward, Thomas Robinson will be a huge part of their bench defense this year. Joel Freeland is big, but not fast; Victor Claver is fast but not big; and Meyers Leonard is big and fast, but not skilled. Robinson is the perfect combination of size (6’9”|240 lbs), speed, and ability to defend NBA fours, but he needs to play a little smarter this year in order to live up to his potential. At 23 years old, his eventual strengths are in a malleable state.

Right now, we are seeing some good things from him, but control has been an issue. As a “hustle” player, his energy is one of his most valuable traits. However; it does not always translate into quality play.”

Read and view it here:

– What to Expect from Will Barton in 2014-15 (from Dane Carbaugh,

” As the Blazers try to build on their playoff success from last season they face a critical question: Is the hype surrounding Will Barton more than just wishful thinking?”

Read and view it here:

Shane Larkin’s freakish speed may change the Knicks’ offense (from Marc Berman, NYPost):

” New point guard Shane Larkin is so lightning-fast he will try to pull the Knicks out of the triangle offense at times.

That’s the plan, according to Larkin, whom coach Derek Fisher is leaning toward as backup point guard over Pablo Prigioni despite his inexperience.

Fisher wants speed on the second unit and the second-year Larkin, whose rookie campaign in Dallas was a whitewash because of a broken ankle, is regarded as one of the NBA’s fastest players.”

Read it here:

– Wolves Bench Shows Signs of Hope (from John Meyer,

” The Wolves bench was a complete mess last year, but the second unit helped propel the team to victory over the Sixers on Friday night. In other words, they showed signs of hope.”

Read it here:

– Top 5 Rookie Sleepers (from Joel Brigham, Basketball Insiders):

” There’s no doubt that this year’s rookie class is going to be an exciting one. With loads of young players possessing loads of star quality talent, it’s inevitable that the Rookie of the Year race will be a million times more interesting than last year’s was. Players like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins all but guarantee that.

However, like every year, there are rookies who fall outside of the lottery that could also show great value early in their careers. Even second-round picks and undrafted players can turn into stars, but predicting which of those players will make such a leap is the challenging part.

Knowing that, here’s a look at some non-lottery rookies that could end up being major contributors by year’s end, including a few that look like All-Stars in training:”

Read it here:

– Kyle Lowry schools Marcus Smart: Rookie guard has lots to learn (from Mark Murphy, Boston Herald):

“Technically he still has a ways to go,” Stevens said. “He made a lot of mistakes defensively Wednesday night (against the Knicks), but because he’s so physical, aggressive and athletic, he got back into the play and it didn’t hurt us. If he can get more technically sound, he can be as good as anyone defensively on the perimeter. He’s every bit of 220-plus pounds. He’s got all of the tools.”

Smart understands a little better today. Great athleticism and strength ultimately won’t cover up mistakes in a league where everyone has those gifts.

“Lowry is very fundamental. He makes you pay when you make a mistake,” Smart said. “You just have to play him solid and don’t gamble. I gambled in this game a little too much and he made us pay. That’s what a great guard does.””

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– Dario Saric’s Best Case Scenario (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

” It’s easy to see where the excitement comes with Saric. He is a mismatch nightmare – he can put the ball on the floor and take bigger players off the dribble as well as play with his back to the basket and punish smaller players on the block. He can clear the defensive glass and start the fast break himself and he knows how to accept the double team and find the open man in the half-court. Not many guys have his combination of size, skill and athleticism.”

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– Brown wants to make Sixers stronger in transition game (from Bob Cooney,

” The identity of this team, Brown says, “has to be defense.” To that end, he is looking for his squad to correct what was its worst area a season ago – the transition game.

Many factors contributed to the Sixers’ getting blitzed in transition on most nights – bad shots early in the shot clock; long shots from players who have no business shooting long jumpers; horrible turnovers – but the one the coach wants to concentrate on this season isn’t too complicated.

“We are going overboard on their first three steps,” Brown said. That means he wants his squad not to allow the man with the ball or anyone else to get out to a full sprint after those three steps. He wants his group to be into any player before those first three steps.”
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– Lou Williams finding his niche with Raptors (from Josh Lewenberg,
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– Eric Bledsoe tries to perfect midrange shot (from Paul Coro,
” Few guards have the ability to get to the rim as well as Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe does.

But for the past year, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has been trying to find middle ground with Bledsoe too.

Because Bledsoe often has defenders retreating hard or going under screens in fear of his drives,

Bledsoe has the chance to take open midrange shots often.”

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– Jeremy Lin Has Become Not Only Kobe Bryant’s Teammate, but His Pupil (from Kevin Ding, Bleacher Report):

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– What do Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones have to show in the preseason? (from Kevin Yeung,

Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones have been biding their time for a rotation spot, and they’ve each flitted into semi-consistent playing time for brief stretches now and again. But they’ve never lasted, and it’s largely been because of their own shortcomings. There’s an open competition for the starting shooting guard spot, and any of those three could win out (Morrow and Jackson are also in the mix). But there’s a long list of things they have to improve on, and what they show in training camp and preseason could go a long way towards their role this season.”

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– Zach Lowe’s  Frank Vogel podcast (from

Read excerpts and view the podcast here:

– That May Not Be the Last of Jamel McLean (from Yannis Koutroupis, Basketball Insiders):

” McLean and Alba Berlin shocked the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, defeating them 94-93 on a banked in floater from McLean from just inside the three point line as time expired.

He’ll be going up against German League competition for the rest of the season, but at the rate he’s been improving, we could see McLean going head-to-head with NBA players again soon, only as a member of the league himself. McLean spent some time with the Sacramento Kings last offseason and should receive his more serious look yet from NBA teams this upcoming summer.

“[Making the NBA] would be my dream,” McLean said. “I just take everything in stride each summer. I come home and figure out what they’re looking for and hopefully a team is looking for, you know the NBA is full of scorers and what not but maybe a glue guy or a stick guy who’s been around and knows the game a little bit, so there’s a window it’s a small window but you know I’m still aiming for it and just coming over here and playing and staying in top shape and developing my game each year and hopefully a team will take a chance on me.”

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– Doc Rivers dispels Clippers’ pain with his healing powers (from Bill Dwyre, LATimes):

” It remains fascinating that the person with the medical nickname did the most healing for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

When Donald “Step on My Tongue” Sterling spewed his stupidity, Glenn “Doc” Rivers was there with ointment and bandages. He protected, guided and navigated this oft-abused and suddenly under siege franchise through the rapids and waterfalls of public relations disaster.

In this case, Rivers’ nickname could have just as easily been derived from having a doctorate in common sense.”

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– Clippers giving Spencer Hawes positive early reviews (from Robert Morales, Long Beach Press-Telegram):

” Small forward Matt Barnes said during the recent Clippers media day that Spencer Hawes is probably one of the biggest free-agent acquisitions of the summer that few are talking about.

Coach Doc Rivers talked about Hawes on Friday morning at the team’s practice facility, when he was asked about his initial impressions of the 7-foot-1 University of Washington product.

“Very good, yeah,” Rivers said of Hawes, who signed a four-year, $23 million free-agent contract. “He does a couple of things better than I knew, like posts; he’s a heck of a post player. I never knew that. He was standing behind the 3 so much, I didn’t know he could do that. So that’s been a good find by us.

“I’ve always said the players know before the coaches. And I think D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) and Chris (Paul) one day, they were like, ‘Coach, you know we can post Spencer up more.’ I said, ‘Yeah, thanks, guys, I see that now.’”

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– On Blake Griffin’s Shooting Mechanics and Potential Range (from Ben Dowsett, BBall Breakdown):

” Blake Griffin came into the league in the 2009 draft with a ton of hype. He was one of the great physical specimens seen in recent years, a high-flying athlete with a combination of bulk and handles that made his physical ceiling seem almost limitless. None of the fanfare, though, was due to his prowess as a jump-shooter – on the contrary, coming off consecutive sub-60 percent free-throw shooting years at Oklahoma, Griffin’s stroke was likely the largest concern for his potential success in the league.

Fast forward just four seasons (plus a missed first campaign due to injury), and the talk of the town in Clipperland is Blake’s range expansion, purported to stretch all the way out beyond the three-point line this year. How have we made it to this point so quickly?”

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– Clippers’ Blake Griffin says he’s working on corner three-pointers. Here’s why he shouldn’t. (from Seth Partnow, Washington Post):

” While the corner three-pointer is certainly an easier shot (NBA players shot 39 percent from the corners, compared with 35.3 percent from above the break), it’s also in the corner. In other words, it’s out of the way, and far from the action.

A main reason Griffin is such a dynamic player is his combination of mobility, explosiveness and passing ability. This allows him to make plays both for himself and teammates with the ball, and to be a part of multiple pick-and-roll plays every possession.

The ability to get to multiple threatening spots on the floor is inconsistent, then, with spending a lot of time spotting up in the corner for a three-pointer. Griffin could certainly do it and, given a summer’s work, hit those shots at a decent clip, but what of all the other good stuff he does?”

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– David Blatt is coming to America (from Jordan Brenner, ESPN, the magazine):

” The first coach to jump straight from Europe to the NBA”

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– The Commissioner: No one — no one ever — wrote an NBA gamer like Bob Ryan (from Bryant Curtis,

When Bob Ryan would begin writing a Celtics game story — a “gamer,” as it’s known in the trade — he’d look for a lede. An insight, a gag, a short scene. Something he could extract from his brain before deadline that would give the reader a proverbial starting point.

So let’s get to it.

A fellow Boston Globe writer named John Powers once noticed that Ryan didn’t include many quotes in his game stories. Quotes were the chief information-dispensing device of other NBA writers.

Bob, Powers asked, why aren’t Globe readers hearing from the athletes?

Ryan replied, “I’ll tell ’em what they ought to know!”

Ryan was the king of the categorical statement, noted Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce, who wrote for three Boston papers. In game stories, categorical statements are minor embellishments that help readers see the uniqueness of the thing before them — e.g., “No coach ever had a greater asset than John Havlicek.”

So let’s get to it.”

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– Mad Ants Coach Conner Henry Discusses Open Tryouts And New Affiliation System (from Keith Schlosser,

” spoke with recent D-League Coach of the Year award winner Conner Henry about the open tryout process, the new affiliation system, and the Mad Ants’ championship run last season.”

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